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View Full Version : Birthday Uke!



thedannywahl
04-21-2012, 06:39 PM
Even though I really only been playing seriously since Christmas my wife decided for surprise me for my birthday with one new Uke! Living in China it's easy to get ukes, hard for get GOOD ukes, but!

So her parents went come visit us about two three weeks ago and were carrying this:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=36698&d=1335067515

I was so stoked and my wife even let me play it right then even though my birthday still not for 4 more days!

I cannot express how stoked I am to own this thing, it has (almost) everything I was hoping for in an uke, and definitely everything I wanted that we could afford. Well, okay maybe it was a little out of the price range...

This is my Big Island BI-K-SPS Solid Koa Soprano Traditional w/ Side Tuners

The things I wanted was: solid, koa, traditional, side tuners, and importantly: Hawaiian. Still made in Vietnam, but one Hawaiian company - gotta support the roots! She even bought it from Maui Music (send a little money back home, ya).

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=36699&d=1335067543

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=36696&d=1335067468

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=36695&d=1335067444

The thing sounds dreamy. So mellow compared to my Luna Concert. Sustain is kinda short, but I like it. Every note sounds so good and intonation is spot on. I cannot find hardly any flaws in the finish; even, smooth gloss with no extra glues, gloss or anything lidat. You can see from the pictures the bookmatch stay perfect.

I dunno if Maui Music does any kine setup on one online order, so this isn't critique of them. The first fret is super low (like 1mm) and fretting is easy, but at the 12th fret the action is higher (2.5, almost 3mm). I dunno if this is normal or what.

Negative: This thing buzzes like crazy. I been patient, been reading, tried to adjust my playing, let the strings settle, etc... but still get tons of buzz. Then I noticed some things:

1) The A string 'notch' in the nut is narrow and deep- but too narrow for the a string to actually sit in it like the other strings, so > 1/2 the string is above the nut.

2) In trying to chase down the buzz I noticed the strings aren't as "dead" as when picking as on my Luna. For example if I pick the E String 3rd fret the G string vibrates almost as much as if it has been plucked too (you can actually hear it) where the A and C don't visibly vibrate. Same thing for C string at the 4th fret: the A string vibrates like crazy.

Overall, once the buzz gets worked out I will absolutely love this thing. I still love it, but every now and then the buzz makes we want for pull out my hairs! And I can't wait to be worthy of owning this uke, just in 3 weeks of having I I've gone from 20-30 minutes a day of practice to 45-75.

An big Mahalos to my wife!

kapahulu50
04-21-2012, 07:14 PM
The higher action at 12 is perfectly normal.

The g vibrating when you play the e (and the a/c combo) is weird. Only with open strings? If so, something migh be up w da nut.

And happy birthday and congrats on da new uke!

consitter
04-21-2012, 07:17 PM
Congratulations on the new uke, and happy birthday! Hope you can get the bugs worked out with it.

flyingv8
04-21-2012, 07:35 PM
Sure is pretty!

bbycrts
04-21-2012, 07:38 PM
Outstanding! I bet you'll get that buzz sorted out quickly enough. I love the traditional design Big Island ukes!

smellofstrings
04-21-2012, 07:41 PM
Congrats! BI ukes are great!

I agree with you that the sustain is a bit short, same with my BI Mango Concert, but it's acceptable. My BI Mango Concert also has a high action at 12 fret. I'll find a tech to adjust the action for me soon.

By the way, do you like the original Aquila strings? I'm doing some strings experiments on my BI. Yesterday I put on the Fremont clear, awful... hate it... after replying your post I'm going to replace them with Ko'olau Mahana, hope it will sound better to my ears.

Enjoy your new uke! ;)

thedannywahl
04-21-2012, 09:49 PM
The g vibrating when you play the e (and the a/c combo) is weird. Only with open strings? If so, something migh be up w da nut.

Ya only with the open strings, I wen pluck like every string on every fret up to the 7th fret and get those 2 and one more I cannot remember right now. And I plucking kinda soft to make sure it's not technique.


By the way, do you like the original Aquila strings?

I never knew they were Aquila, but I like them. Like I said, I only get one other Uke with one set of strings (don't know what they are) and three four months of experience.

Same thing in China for strings, can get them but cannot get good ones very easy, so I have to like them anyways.

When my inlaws was here we went Beijing and I found one music shop with Ukes. Had one nice looking Chinese one but the salesman wanted about $400 USD for it because it was an imported Italian brand and not Chinese. The brand: Aquila. As noted by the tag around the neck. I laughed and pointed at the Chinese characters on the sticker in the sound hole.

smellofstrings
04-21-2012, 10:44 PM
I'm from Hong Kong. Although here we have a uke store, it usually doesn't carry what I want so I order everything from US. Back to my strings experiment, Fremont Clear and Ko'olau Mahana are both terrible for my BI (to my ears and my hands). Now I put on D'Addario Nlytech, they have the Aquila gene so it feels like I have switched back to the original Aquila strings. They sound much much better than the previous two (to my ears again). Some folks said that Worth are good for BI uke too but I haven't got a spare pack to experiment with. So far, I think I will keep the Aquila on this uke.

UkuEroll
04-22-2012, 01:03 AM
Wow, I wish my wife would surprise me with something like that. Looks great, happy strumming.

wmboy
04-22-2012, 01:12 AM
thedannywahl,
Happy birthday & congratulations on the new uke from your wife. She is fantastic! :)

wmboy
04-22-2012, 01:21 AM
I'm from Hong Kong. Although here we have a uke store, it usually doesn't carry what I want so I order everything from US. Back to my strings experiment, Fremont Clear and Ko'olau Mahana are both terrible for my BI (to my ears and my hands). Now I put on D'Addario Nlytech, they have the Aquila gene so it feels like I have switched back to the original Aquila strings. They sound much much better than the previous two (to my ears again). Some folks said that Worth are good for BI uke too but I haven't got a spare pack to experiment with. So far, I think I will keep the Aquila on this uke.

William,

I don't own a BI yet but played a couple BI tenor in Japan and was impressed with the build & tone.

Same experience for me trying out different strings on my Kanilea concert, only to find the original Aquila best fit compared to Worth or Ko'olau. So far, the only factory fitted strings that I do not like are the black flourocarbon on my Kamaka tenor.

Totally enjoy your YT videos. Can you make one with the BI please?

AcousticBuckeye
04-22-2012, 02:26 AM
Nothing beats a good surprise. Congrats on the new uke. Looks great.

AB

mm stan
04-22-2012, 04:01 AM
Happy Birthday and Congratulations....the nut may be pinching the strings...but then Big Islands are on the more quiet side.. yes sounds like you need a set up ...get those bees outta there..

Nickie
04-22-2012, 04:27 AM
Wow, Happy Birthday (I know it is), and Congratulations! It's a beauty. You'll work out those bugs, I know you will. Ukuleles sometimes give us challenges, that's part of owning one.